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Even when a business is losing money, it's possible for shareholders to make money if they buy a good business at the right price. For example, although Amazon.com made losses for many years after listing, if you had bought and held the shares since 1999, you would have made a fortune. But while the successes are well known, investors should not ignore the very many unprofitable companies that simply burn through all their cash and collapse.
So, the natural question for Yunji (NASDAQ:YJ) shareholders is whether they should be concerned by its rate of cash burn. In this article, we define cash burn as its annual (negative) free cash flow, which is the amount of money a company spends each year to fund its growth. The first step is to compare its cash burn with its cash reserves, to give us its 'cash runway'.
When Might Yunji Run Out Of Money?
A company's cash runway is calculated by dividing its cash hoard by its cash burn. When Yunji last reported its balance sheet in June 2020, it had zero debt and cash worth CN¥1.6b. In the last year, its cash burn was CN¥1.1b. Therefore, from June 2020 it had roughly 16 months of cash runway. That's not too bad, but it's fair to say the end of the cash runway is in sight, unless cash burn reduces drastically. The image below shows how its cash balance has been changing over the last few years.
How Well Is Yunji Growing?
It was quite stunning to see that Yunji increased its cash burn by 703% over the last year. As if that's not bad enough, the operating revenue also dropped by 40%, making us very wary indeed. In light of the above-mentioned, we're pretty wary of the trajectory the company seems to be on. While the past is always worth studying, it is the future that matters most of all. For that reason, it makes a lot of sense to take a look at our analyst forecasts for the company.
How Easily Can Yunji Raise Cash?
Since Yunji can't yet boast improving growth metrics, the market will likely be considering how it can raise more cash if need be. Issuing new shares, or taking on debt, are the most common ways for a listed company to raise more money for its business. One of the main advantages held by publicly listed companies is that they can sell shares to investors to raise cash and fund growth. By looking at a company's cash burn relative to its market capitalisation, we gain insight on how much shareholders would be diluted if the company needed to raise enough cash to cover another year's cash burn.
Since it has a market capitalisation of CN¥2.7b, Yunji's CN¥1.1b in cash burn equates to about 42% of its market value. That's high expenditure relative to the value of the entire company, so if it does have to issue shares to fund more growth, that could end up really hurting shareholders returns (through significant dilution).
How Risky Is Yunji's Cash Burn Situation?
Even though its increasing cash burn makes us a little nervous, we are compelled to mention that we thought Yunji's cash runway was relatively promising. After looking at that range of measures, we think shareholders should be extremely attentive to how the company is using its cash, as the cash burn makes us uncomfortable. Separately, we looked at different risks affecting the company and spotted 2 warning signs for Yunji (of which 1 is a bit concerning!) you should know about.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies insiders are buying, and this list of stocks growth stocks (according to analyst forecasts)
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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